Gays and Lesbians and Their Relationship with CBF
Is CBF trying to play the role of an underground railroad when it comes to setting free gays and lesbians? A quick read of Dr. Vestal’s statement concerning hiring and funding policy would make you think so. However, a prayerful reading would suggest not. Dr. Vestal’s recent statement was loaded with rhetoric that lacked prophetic power against injustices.
Helping those who are suffering cannot be done successfully by having a conviction that doesn’t fully believe that all persons are under the grace of God and should be treated equally. It is quite clear that Dr. Vestal doesn’t believe that gays and lesbians should have equal treatment for feeding and supporting their families. Therefore, CBF does not “allow for the purposeful hiring of a staff person or the sending of a missionary who is a practicing homosexual.” I would hate to think of all the persons CBF hires who are practicing everything under the sun except the ethics of Christ and yet one specific trait of a person is highlighted as a basis for exclusion.
History tells us that separate but equal doesn’t work. Identifying gays and lesbians as persons that are to be handled with a long spoon is against the biblical command to “Love my neighbor as thyself.” I do agree with Dr. Vestal that having a conversation on this matter of sexuality is a great “Baptist thing”. However, we cannot have a serious dialogue if we are only hearing each other but not listening to each other. To listen is to trust that we can learn from each other and be transformed by what we learn. I have a hunch that we are repeating history and are asking a group of persons to sit in the balcony while we worship a God that sustains a specific status quo. Or better yet, we are asking gays and lesbians to play the bait and switch game: get them to sign on with churches and don’t require them to be authentic in their calling.
I respect Dr. Vestal and his convictions and yet I don’t believe these convictions are best practices for the church. I continue to grapple with the complexities of this issue; however, as a pastor to those who are constantly fighting against systems that deny and denounce their God given gifts I am called to see beyond the veil and challenge any view that does not promote and produce liberation to all. It just might be time for God to enter the temples of CBF and turn over the tables they are counting on.